If writing is the art of expression through words, revision is the art of clarification and refining. It’s a simple and beautiful concept which, to us teachers, can seem obvious. I know I tend to edit my own work—and sometimes others’—without thinking twice about it. But to 2nd grade students who have only just begun to master the first draft, second drafts are hardly second-nature. The more help they can get in understanding both how to edit and why, the better.
That’s where worksheets and pre-made templates come in handy. Print-outs like checklists and other worksheets help your young writers keep their thoughts organized and their writing structured, and help them see more clearly what sort of things they should be looking for when revising and editing their own and others’ work. Listed below are just a few free worksheets you can use for your 2nd graders’ next editing session!
Double-Checking With a Writing Checklist
We all know how difficult it can be to edit your own work. This straightforward writing checklist helps your students revise and edit their own writing objectively and thoroughly by presenting them with a simple, straightforward list of items to double-check for in their work. It avoids ambiguity by framing each item as a “yes” or “no” question—either it’s there, or it’s not! Once they’re finished filling out the worksheet, it’s easy to see which parts of their writing need to be revised—all they have to do is check out what showed up in the “no” column. After they’ve finished editing, it’ll be oh-so-satisfying to finally be able to color “yes” in every box.
Beef Up Vocabulary With a Word List
One area young writers often need the most help with is descriptive writing—specifically, spicing up their vocabulary with more dynamic verbs and adjectives. Was the turtle simply “slow,” or did he “crawl”? Was the crystal palace “dazzling,” “brilliant,” “remarkable” or all of the above? The toughest thing about this part of the editing process is that sometimes—regardless of whether you’re a 2nd grade student or a bestselling author—the words you want simply will not come to mind. To help ease your students into revising, try giving them a list of vocabulary words to pick and choose from. It’s a great way to learn new words even as they figure out how to improve old ones—just make sure they have a dictionary or thesaurus handy so they can check out any words they’re unsure of!
Review Clarity With Planning Worksheets
One of the biggest challenges your 2nd grade authors face this year is keeping their writing clear and to the point. While planning worksheets are, as the name suggests, generally intended for use during the planning stages of writing before the first draft, they can also be used to determine how effectively your students have expressed their ideas.
Try asking students to swap responses for a little peer editing. Hand out print-outs such as this informative writing worksheet and this opinion writing worksheet to each student. Ask them to read their classmate’s assignment and fill out the worksheet as if they are the ones writing it. What is the overall topic? What are the main points the author is making? What evidence does the author give to support their opinion? What details do they offer to flesh out their topic?
When they’re finished, have them pass the assignment back to its original author along with the worksheet. How do the responses on the worksheet compare with what they originally intended to write? Similar responses indicate clarity, while vast differences between the two suggest a bit more refining is in order.
Teaching Editing and Revising as Part of the Writing Process
Editing and revising aren’t meant to be standalone skills, but rather used as part of the writing process. It only makes sense to teach them as part of that process as well! The easiest—and most enjoyable—way to do this is by using these free worksheets in the context of publishing a classbook project. After all, if it’s going to be in a real book, your students are going to care even more about getting their writing just right.
By learning to see editing as an important step toward an exciting larger goal, your students will be more engaged in the lesson and be able to more fully appreciate the value of what they are learning. And, once their published books arrive, they’ll be proud of themselves and the hard work they put into both writing and revising their stories before sending them to print. Not all lessons have to be learned the hard way—with a couple of free worksheets and a free publishing kit, writing, editing, and publishing a classbook together couldn’t be easier, or more rewarding!